Buying your first car is an experience you’ll never forget and the sense of freedom that comes with it will always stay with you.
However, the cost of buying and running a car can be expensive for new drivers, so the best way to stretch your budget is to find something affordable, economical and can be insured cheaply.
While many first-time car buyers think they should only purchase a used car, buying, or even financing a brand-new model means you’ll not only get a warranty for peace of mind, but also reduce the chance of something going wrong with your vehicle.
Here at Hitachi Personal Finance, we’ve listed our top three cars that we think are perfect for new drivers.
What to look for in a first car
One of the biggest expenses for new drivers are the sky-high insurance costs. Due to lack of experience, many insurers are unable to judge how capable you are so will often only provide the highest premiums or policies that require a black box to track your driving.
The good news is that if after 12 months you’ve had no issues or claims, your next policy is likely to be cheaper. If you continue to be a good driver with no claims, then your premium will continue to decrease year after year.
Choosing a petrol or electric car over a diesel will give you a better range of choice of smaller engines, as well more value for money when it comes fuel consumption. Try looking at cars that have light steering, good visibility, a robust engine, and reliable brakes which will help boost your confidence behind the wheel.
NCAP Rating: Three stars
Available in both petrol and electric models, this little car is perfect for first time drivers. The VW up! is sophisticated, comfortable, and a pleasure to drive. Designed as a city car, the up! still packs a punch when hitting the motorway or those faster roads.
The 64bhp 1.0-litre up! can go from 0-62mph in 15.6 seconds with a top speed of 101mph and if you opt for the 113bhp GTI model, you’ll be able to do the same sprint in 8.8 seconds with a top speed of 122mph.
The electric e-up! model is still pretty nippy for getting around town and is equally as fun to drive as the petrol models, but you’ll need to stick to slower speeds. It can start to feel out of its depth on the motorway, while faster driving will run down the battery more quickly.
Prices starting from £11,840*
NCAP Rating: Three stars
Build up your confidence with the Hyundai i10 – reliable, easy to handle and is listed in Group 2 insurance, meaning you won’t have to put a strain on your bank balance.
Available in both 1.0 and 1.2-litre petrol engines with a choice of 66bhp or 86bhp, opting for the smaller and cheaper 1.0 litre has more than enough performance with better fuel efficiency.
Driving on the motorway in the i10 is a doddle as it can keep up at higher speeds. There’s also more than enough power to make sure you can keep up with other fast-moving traffic, and its wide track makes the overall drive feel stable.
You also get bang for your buck when it comes to the interior – kitted out with electric windows, air-con and a decent infotainment system (stereo, Bluetooth and mp3 connectivity) and if you opt for the top-spec, you’ll get a 7-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, so you’ll never get lost.
And let’s not forget Hyundai's standard five-year warranty…
Prices starting from £13,025*
NCAP Rating: Four stars
The iconic Vauxhall Corsa is a firm favourite amongst UK drivers due to its sleek style, roomie interior, nice handling, and competitive price.
Young and new drivers should definitely consider this car due its low insurance grouping and high NCAP rating. Not only that, but the Corsa is one of the few hatchbacks left on the market that come with a choice of either three or five doors.
Currently, they only have one engine size available which is a 1.4L petrol with either 74bhp or 89bhp options. There isn’t much difference in their performance when driving on the road, so it just comes down to personal preference and budget.
If you’re keen to keep your carbon footprint down and do your bit of the planet, you’ll be pleased to know that Vauxhall also offer an all-electric model – the ‘Corsa-e’ which came out last year.
Even though the base model is a little pricey, starting at £26,640, you’ll benefit from tax exemptions, lower running, and maintenance costs.
For more information on EVs, check out our exclusive guide to buying an electric car and what you need to know.
Prices starting from £16,440* (all-electric Corsa-e starts from £26,640*)